Start by taking care of your boots, she said. I can’t remember the question but it was something to do with being more compassionate towards oneself. This exchange took place at a Spiritual Direction Ceremony at Shasta in the 1980’s. A ceremony where the novice monks ask the senior monk leading the ceremony a spiritual question. That’s asking a largely unrehearsed question, out loud in the presence of all the other monks. Beautiful in its’ simplicity and a time of circulating generosity. I remember that answer well. Perhaps because I already believed in taking care of my boots. At that time mine would have been around 7 years old, mended at great expense and were never the same again unfortunately.
The answer might have been to take care of ones sandals or anything used regularly. In a certain way taking care, keeping clean, keeping preserved and in good repair is a way of expressing gratitude for the service items of personal use give us. Thinking about it now that answer was really a very good one. Having compassion for oneself starts with taking care of, and thus being grateful for, all that one comes into contact with. Perhaps it is that the distance between me and my stuff gets smaller. Acceptance becomes all embracing. Just thoughts at the end of a long day.
I found out yesterday walking boots are best sent to specialists for new soles and for general repairs too. That’s what I plan to do with mine. Those boots will be 7 years old later this year.